The baseball team opened Red Rolfe division play at home last weekend, facing Dartmouth (11-20, 5-5) in a four-game series before squaring off against UMass Lowell Tuesday.
Brown 4, Dartmouth 2
Bruno (11-19, 5-7 Ivy) opened the series Saturday with ace pitcher Christian Taugner ’17 on the mound.
Brown got the scoring started in the third inning with a pair of runs then doubled the lead in the fifth with a two-RBI double from Noah Shulman ’16.
For Taugner, who holds a league-best 2.25 earned run average, the four-run cushion was more than enough. The Big Green added two runs in the sixth, but Taugner regrouped to finish off the complete-game effort. The junior only needed 79 pitches to secure his fifth win of the season. Dartmouth starter Duncan Robinson struck out 10 in six innings but was charged with the loss. The Bears totaled eight hits off Robinson, including two each from Brian Ginsberg ’18, Kevin Guthrie ’16 and Josh Huntley ’17.
Dartmouth 4, Brown 3
Saturday’s nine-inning contest followed a similar pace as the first game, as offense came few and far between. Reid Anderson ’18 got the start for Bruno, facing off against Dartmouth’s Cole O’Connor.
Bruno led 2-1 into the sixth, but the Big Green took the lead with three runs off three hits and a pair of walks. Anderson was pulled from the game with one out in the inning, finishing the day with four earned runs allowed off nine hits and four walks.
Bruno got one run back in the seventh from an RBI single by Sam Grigo ’18 to pull within one.
Brown’s bullpen held the game close, as JJ Sliepka ’19, Robbie Stephens ’19 and Dante Bosnic ’18 combined to hold the Big Green scoreless over the last 3.2 innings.
“Our bullpen has been as good as anyone’s in the league,” said Head Coach Grant Achilles.
But Brown wouldn’t fare any better offensively, striking out three times in the ninth and ending the game with the tying run on second base.
While all of Dartmouth’s runs were earned, Bruno made three errors in the game.
“Not to take anything away from teams that we’ve already played, but (Dartmouth has) historically been very, very good. And this year is no different,” Achilles said. “This weekend was another challenge and they kept us off balance.”
Dartmouth 15, Brown 0
Sunday’s opener got away from the Bears in the later innings in a rough game for the pitching staff.
Dartmouth opened a 4-0 lead after three innings against Brown starter Austin French ’16. French allowed another run in the fifth, which would ultimately be his last inning, on a wild pitch. Despite allowing five earned runs on six hits and four walks, the senior added seven strikeouts.
Dartmouth put the contest out of reach with five runs in both the sixth and seventh innings against Grant Greeno ’18 and Matt Beyer ’19, respectively.
On the other side, Dartmouth’s Beau Sulser dominated start to finish against the Bears, allowing just four hits and striking out five over seven innings of work to earn the win.
Rob Henry ’17 and Shulman had the only extra-base hits for the Bears, each doubling in the game.
Brown 2, Dartmouth 0
The Bears could not dwell long on the loss as their final contest against the Big Green was soon underway. The team was encouraged to put the previous game behind it and focus on the upcoming matchup.
“All I said was ‘Game one today was not who we are. Let’s show them who we are in game two,’” Achilles said.
Bruno went for the series split in Sunday’s final game with Max Ritchie ’17 on the mound. While Ritchie is not typically a weekend starter, a non-conference game Thursday against the University of Rhode Island altered the team’s plan for the weekend.
The Bears jumped out to a lead in the bottom of the second when Ginsberg and Guthrie knocked in runs in the second and third, respectively, to put Brown up 2-0.
Ritchie held the lead for Brown in his second start, allowing just two hits and no runs in his five innings. Sliepka — the usual Sunday afternoon starter — and Bosnic continued their solid weekend with a combined four innings of scoreless relief. Bosnic allowed a pair of singles in the top of the ninth, but struck out Dartmouth’s Rob Emery with the tying run on first base to end the game. Brown pitchers allowed just four hits in a combined effort, while six different Bears registered a hit in the contest.
The veterans on the team’s roster contributed to the team’s ability to come back and split the series Sunday, Achilles said.
“We have players who have been through the Ivy League season before,” he added. “They know that each game is different.”
“I think the fact that we came back from such a lopsided loss today in the first game … says a lot about our arms and our team,” Achilles said.
UMass Lowell 9, Brown 8
The Bears employed an unusual pitching strategy in order to preserve their arms for weekend tilts against Harvard. Sam Hauser ’17 got the start against the River Hawks but only went two innings after giving up three earned runs. The junior was relieved by five other pitchers, with Stephens lasting the longest — 3.1 innings, giving up another four runs.
Henry was the catalyst behind the explosive offense, hitting two home runs for four RBI on the day. Unfortunately for Bruno, Steve Passatempo matched Henry’s RBI total and the River Hawks added an extra hit for the ultimate one-run edge.
Saturday and Sunday, Brown faces off against Harvard, with whom they are tied for third place in the Red Rolfe Division.